16:20 by FoxTwo
Yes I know, old news.
For those that are clueless, catch up here.
Today I received an email from a company claiming to be Virtual Map's PR firm. The funny thing is, I wonder how they got my email address. I never published this particular email address anywhere. Or at least, not anywhere public. Just as a precaution, in case it was spam or fraud, I did a series of WHOIS and Traceroutes. Seemed legit.
This is an excerpt of the mail:
This is Melvin from 20twenty. We're Virtual Map's PR agency and we've been reading your posts regarding streetdirectory.com.
On behalf of the guys at VM, thanks for your interest in the website and how it's fairing(1).
We've been receiving a lot of comments about how the loss of the site has inconvenienced people, so we've decided to come back online with most of our features like the popular bus/mrt guides. Unfortunately, the maps will have to wait, but hopefully this will relief(2) your inconvenience somewhat.
Besides, Streetdirectory was "back" last week. I just didn't think it noteworthy enough to mention it in a blog entry, since it wasn't (and still isn't) functioning 100% yet. Notice the part I underlined in the excerpt above. They aren't ready for maps yet and they know it.
Seriously though, if maps aren't ready, then what is the whole point? It's like saying "Congratulations you just won a car! Sorry, no keys though. You have to wait for those".
Having a bus/mrt guide without seeing where to get on, get off, walk, is almost useless. Google's maps have always been ready. Even their "driving instructions" work. We're just missing the bus/mrt info that Streetdirectory.com used to provide, but we can make-do with Google Maps (and other alternatives) for now. Google Maps even has MRT stations printed on their maps, so one can actually see the nearest station and make a guess how to get to their location.
If you were to actually go to the website now, and tried to search for a location, you'd get a blank green box. That's all. Only when you switch over to "Satellite" view, will you get - surprise surprise! - Google's satellite images. Google. Think about it.
As an aside, I also get irritated by incorrect/bad English used in official correspondence. This time it probably isn't even the author's fault - it's just the human reliance on automated spell-checkers.
(1) It's FARING not FAIRING.
(2) RELIEVE instead of RELIEF
See? That is why I don't use a spellchecker at all in any of my documents. The words above were spelled correctly, just used incorrectly. People nowadays just rely too much on spell checks, that they don't really check grammar and punctuation on their own anymore. Seriously, it's the same for myself regarding Chinese. I find that I can type almost anything in Chinese as long as I know the hanyu pinyin for it. Thus I don't bother to remember how to write it by hand anymore. Is this a good or bad thing? Hmm that makes for an interesting blog entry...
Anyway, it's interesting to think that they've actually bothered to engage a PR firm to do "damage control", and they actually wrote email to people like me. Personally I'm not very well known, and my blog is, according to the statistics, visited by more Americans than Singaporeans. Well slightly more Americans, anyway. It's like 50% USA visitors, 49% Singaporean, 1% rest of the world (like Greenland and Iran for example).
I should applaud Virtual Maps for this initiative though. It's a fresh approach, unlike other companies who either try to spin the media into saying "it's not our fault".
Haha... Now I'm embarassed by the mistakes!
I appreciate your candour though, and I actually got your email from your "about me" page.
Thanks very much for your constructive criticism! Now I have to hope nobody else sees my errors...
Oh I had to laugh, it seems that Melvin is an avid reader of yours.
Hey thank btw for the comment in the fonts. Yeah It is really tiny. I changed it already. Glad you brought it up, highly appreciated.
I don't use any map service myself but thanx for the insight ,and Melvin, too late, Foxy has loads of readers and we all know now lol.
Melvin - hey didn't know you'd be so quick to read the entry. I must say, you're one very resourceful guy to locate my email address from my "About Me" page, since I never directly provided it there too. Must have followed one of the links to an off-site location to get it :)
I hope your client continues to improve, and learn from the past. Many local services, including the online SBS bus guide, use the maps too.
Jade - thanks for popping by! I look forward to reading more entries. Never would have found you without Entrecard tho.
Ella - well seeing as you're not in Singapore I doubt you'd need map services like we do here. Streetdirectory.com was our "staple" site for getting a map to the location we needed to go. When it went down a couple of weeks back, you could almost hear a colective outcry across the whole country, going "damn!".
Singaporeans are really a pampered lot. Nobody remembers how we managed before Streetdirectory.com existed heh!